Feelings or Trust?
An individual shares their experience dealing with emotions and feeling distant from God.
I've been feeling so dry lately. Emotionally and spiritually dry. What's wrong with me? My prayers sound stale to me, so I'm sure they can't be of interest to God. My quiet times with the Lord have been unsatisfying, and I feel like a hypocrite even getting out my Bible and other devotional materials I use. Why do I bother? I know I can't fool God. He knows my heart's just not in it. Where is my passion? Where is my enthusiasm? Why all the doubts that crowd my mind? Doubts that I can be good enough for God. I get the idea that, as a Christian, I should always feel God's presence, and that my feeling close to Him is the best measurement of where I stand with Him.
But this is really faulty reasoning. My feelings can be as changeable as the wind. When I make them the verification I depend on to tell me where I stand with God, I'm in trouble. Just because I don't feel as if God is close to me doesn't mean He moved away. Nor does it even mean that I have moved away. It means that something or some things have happened (perhaps unrecognized by me) that have interrupted my CONFIDENCE about being on track with God.
And the devil loves to get those little doubts in there to tie my stomach in knots and make me feel guilty for not being more spiritual.
Dobson wrote a book ages ago titled Emotions: Can you Trust Them? A very wise book. We can't trust our feelings. That is, we can't think of them as an assessment tool in determining our spiritual condition.
When my boys were growing up, there were many times when I didn't FEEL lovingly towards them; times when I was impatient, angry, or just disappointed in their actions. But I always loved them. Not feeling the love didn't mean it was gone. It just meant that other stuff had gotten in the way of that emotion. Like on a cloudy day. Is it true that when the day is dark and all you can see are clouds, the sun is GONE? Of course not. It's shining just as always, but the clouds have come between.
This has happened to me before. I have come to learn that I place too much importance on my feelings; and can let them rule me. So, God has a way of short-circuiting the "warm fuzzies" for a season in order to increase my TRUST in HIM. Psalm 42 contains these beautiful words: "As the deer pants for the water, so pants my soul for You, O, God. ....My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, 'where is thy God?'" But the psalm moves into victory with these words: "Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him. He is my help and my God."
So, I will wait this out. I know it will pass. And I also know that God is faithful, and He will restore my joy to me 'in due season.' In Psalms 30:5 we read "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning."
As a result of this dryness, I'm already spending more time in God's Word, and that always, eventually, reaps a glorious reward. I know the battle is already won.